It is the combination of the essentials and extras that make a game story themost complete report on a game of local or national interest.

Let's take a look at the parts of a game story that must be included.

1. The final score of the game. This should be easy to find and near the top of the story. Do not hide it in the final paragraph. It should also be the first score that is given. A good general rule is that the final score should be in the first three paragraphs of a story.

2. Which teams participated. Identify the teams by their full name the first time you mention them: the Texas Rangers, the Montreal Canadiens, the University of Connecticut women's basketball team.

3. Where the game was played. By this I mean the actual physical location of the game as opposed to just the town or city the game was played in. This would mean the name of the field or stadium should be included.

4. What type of sport was played. This is often forgotten, overlooked or purposely not included. Generally, when it comes to professional sports it is safe to assume that the reader of a sports section understands what sport they are reading about. When the Boston Red Sox are playing the New York Yankees it is a Major League Baseball game. Not so, however, when it's the University of New Hampshire Wildcats against the University of Vermont Catamounts. In fact, those two universities compete in over a dozen sports.

5. Identify whether the game is between girls/women or boys/men. The argument here is much like No. 4. You don't need to say that professional baseball is played by men but you do need to identify whether a high school or college basketball game is a girls'/women's basketball game or a boys'/men's basketball game. (Generally, high school athletes are referred to as boys and girls. They become men and women once in college.)

6. Identify what league or division the teams are from. This gives the reader another immediate reference point to help determine what the level of play was. To just say that the game was a baseball game is not enough. It could be a Little League game, a high school game, a minor league game or a men's adult amateur league.

7. A description of the winning play or the main reason why a team won. In lower scoring games like soccer, hockey and baseball, usually this means the description of what could be called the winning goal or run needs to be featured prominently. In other sports, like football or basketball, if the game is won in the final moments of play by a particular score, then that would be considered the winning points. If the game is won handily, then you need to describe why one team was significantly superior.

8. Include both teams' records and how the outcome affected the league or division standings.

The first seven of the eight essential elements are typically depicted by a late-night television report on your local news channel or cable sports network, either through the use of spoken words, graphics, or the visual highlight material. Often the effect a game has on the teams' records and standings is skipped (particularly on local TV sports reports) due to time constraints.